A reminder – and how I wish that it wasn’t needed – that intolerance, fear and hatred of ‘the Other’ know no boundaries.
Many trans women are subject to street harassment; for some of us, if we’re lucky, it’s “only” a low-level, almost subliminal occurrence, confined to disapproving looks and verbal abuse that may happen pretty much every time we dare to step outside. But for one trans woman in Australia, it’s mushroomed into a living nightmare every day and which recently culminated in this horrific experience:
Transsexual fears for safety
A transsexual woman and her 13-year-old daughter have been forced to move from their Sunshine Coast, Queensland home after a serious assault left them fearing for their safety.
The woman who wishes only to be known as Alice (not her real name) claims that when she was walking along the esplanade at Golden Beach with her daughter last week she was verbally abused by a young man aged 18-21 who yelled abuse such as, “You fucking AIDS-carrying tranny fag”.
Alice said when she held her phone up to record the abuse the young man proceeded to attack her.
“I ran across the road leaving my daughter unprotected, he chased me into a playground threatening to get me,” she said.
“I screamed to units above to call the police, I screamed at the families in the park to help me. Several men who are strangers to me came to my assistance, they tried to hold the offender back.
“Then a car pulled up and two blokes jumped out of the car, one with a metal baseball bat who then started to chase me. A family in a four-wheel-drive let me in and drove me to the police station.”
For the past 18 months, Alice, who has lived as a woman for the past 26 years, has been travelling around Australia with her daughter and a friend.
Whenever locals find out about Alice’s gender they are often run out of country towns.
“We are leaving the Sunshine Coast because I am afraid to walk down the street. I don’t want to leave my room. I can’t understand why normal people act like this.”
Police have charged a man with one count of public nuisance and two counts of common assault.
(Via the Sydney Star Observer)
“I can’t understand why normal people act like this.” This is a sad and telling remark. Trans people are routinely marginalised, oppressed and subjected to forms and levels of violence which would simply not be acceptable if handed out to other (cis) people in the same way. No matter the extent to which we are subjected to it, the fact is that our expressions of our gender variance are deemed sufficient reason to treat us as pariahs and outcasts, freaks and abominations – and mainstream cis people’s society condones it, time and again.
And no matter how much we resist the hatred, no matter how much we change our lives to accommodate both our condition and our neighbours, eventually we internalise it to some degree and we, too, become brainwashed into accepting cis people’s violence towards us – in all its many forms – as ‘the norm’. It must stop, and it must stop now.
Unfortunately, given how deeply ingrained and accepted these kinds of transphobic attitudes have become amongst cis people, it’s hard to imagine any positive change happening any time soon.